The International Year of Millets: how India’s govt can promote the cereals in 2023

Source: The post is based on an article “The International Year of Millets: how India’s govt can promote the cereals in 2023published in The Indian Express on 2nd January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Food Security

Relevance: benefits and challenges associated millets

News:  The effort of India has led the United Nations to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets. India also accounts for a fifth of the world’s millets production.

What are the benefits of millets?

Millets are more nutritious than rice and wheat. However, their protein quality is poorer than that of rice.

The rotis from bajra makes one feel fuller for longer as they take more time to digest and do not raise blood sugar levels too fast. However, there are also challenges associated with millets.

Read More: Millet Production in India – Explained

What are the challenges with millets?

Unassured irrigation: Farmers get assured irrigation for rice, wheat, sugarcane, or cotton. Therefore, they would switch towards these corps.

Lack of MSP: Pusa – 1201, a hybrid bajra has been developed to raise the yields and withstand fungal diseases. However, the absence of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) by the government would make farmers hesitant to grow this variety.

Read More: Millet Production in India – Explained

What steps can be taken by the government to promote millet?

First, the two schemes of the government – Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman and Saksham Anganwadi & Poshan 2.0 can be leveraged making them more millets-focused.

Second, MSP procurement of millets should be part of a decentralized nutritional programme.

Third, millets could be served in the form of ready-to-eat foods.

Fourth, the Centre could fund states willing to procure millets, specific to their region and exclusively for distribution through schools and anganwadis.

Read More: Millet Production in India

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